Combat boots commemorating D-Day journey stop off in Charlottetown
Boots symbolize path many Canadians took as part of fighting in the Second World War
A ceremony was held in Charlottetown on Thursday to mark the journey of combat boots that are crossing the country in commemoration of the 75th anniversary of D-Day and the Battle of Normandy.
The boots began their tour in Vancouver on March 29, 2019.
June 6, 1944 is known as D-Day, when 359 Canadians were killed. More than 5,000 Canadians died in the two-and-a-half-month Battle of Normandy that followed.
The boots are travelling mostly by rail to symbolize the route many Canadians took across the country to join the Second World War.
Second World War veteran Lloyd Gates was one of the speakers at the event held at the Queen Charlotte Armoury in Charlottetown. He spoke of his experience during the war.
"I'm very, very fortunate, lucky. You got to be lucky to come back," Gates said.
He spoke of the trauma he experienced after serving on the battlefields of France.
"You never forget, you just kind of take it as another day but I am glad they have all these ceremonies," Gates said. "It keeps the public in mind, what we did go through."
Minister of Veterans Affairs Lawrence MacAulay was on-hand to be a part of the commemoration event.
Though D-Day and the Battle of Normandy were far from the conclusion of the war, he said, they were great achievements.
"One that continues to make us proud to this day," MacAulay said.
"Their accomplishment and their sacrifice have allowed us to enjoy freedom, security and peace. Today, we honour them with this symbolic send-off."
The boots will continue their journey by train through a few more Canadian cities including Quebec City and Moncton, N.B.
The final ceremony with the boots will be held in Halifax on June 6.
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With files from Jessica Doria-Brown